Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions Where Jesus Walked on Earth—Modern Sites from the Life of Christ

Where Jesus Walked on Earth—Modern Sites from the Life of Christ

The Garden of Gethsemane was host to many scenes of the Gospels. The word Gethsemane is Hebrew for “pressing,” and this location was the place of pressing olives for oil and also for pressing Jesus for the believer’s sake.

Where Jesus Sweat Blood: Garden of Gethsemane

Looking out from modern-day Jerusalem, the land dips deeply into a valley before rising again to the Mount of Olives. This is the Kidron Valley, the same Kidron Valley Jesus crossed when He left the Upper Room and walked to a garden called Gethsemane, literally meaning “pressing” in Hebrew because of the nearby olive press (John 18:1). Here, among the olive trees, Jesus and His disciples spent time together. And here, on the night He was betrayed, Jesus poured out His soul to His Father. The Messiah was in such agony—pressed hard in the garden of pressing—His sweat dropped like blood.

The Garden of Gethsemane today is still an olive grove, home to centuries-old olive trees. One end has been built up with sidewalks, flowers and a church. The other end is wild and mostly untended. Ancient caves are a stone’s throw away from the grove (Luke 22:41). These caves could be where the disciples took shelter from the cold and dozed off that night.

As an angry mob made its way through the valley to the garden, Jesus submitted to His Father, praying, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

It is likely that Jesus walked on these first-century steps that lead from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, as the Jewish religious leaders led him from the Garden of Gethsemene to the home of Ciaphas, the high priest.

This path runs directly from the Garden of Gethsemane through the Kidron to old Jerusalem. It is believed that this is the path that Jesus’ captors took on their way to Ciaphas’s palace.

Where Jesus Met Caiaphas: House of Caiaphas

The mob carrying swords and clubs led Jesus out of the garden, through the Kidron Valley, and up a staircase to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest. The religious leaders were gathered and waiting, eager for a chance to finally put Him to death. Peter followed the mob and lingered quietly in Caiaphas’s courtyard, where he denied his Lord three times.

The worn stone steps from the valley up to Caiaphas’s house are original from the first century and the same stones Jesus descended down to the garden and up again after His arrest.

Beneath the floors of the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu, there is an ancient prison area where it is believed that Jesus was held the first night He was taken to Caiaphas’s house. It is believed that Jesus was let down through this small hole into the prison.

A catholic priest leads a tour group through the prison found beneath the floors of the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu. It is believed that Jesus was held here the first night He was taken to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest.

Where Jesus Was Imprisoned: Dungeon at Caiaphas’s House

Here at Caiaphas’s house, Jesus was charged with blasphemy and held overnight.

The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu is built over the site traditionally believed to be the house of the high priest. First-century caves and cisterns still exist under the house. Tradition claims one of these segments would have been used as a prison. Many believe one small room, the Sacred Pit, is where Jesus was held. It was inaccessible by foot, so He would have been let down with ropes through a shaft in the ceiling.

It is believed that Jesus was let down through this small hole into the prison beneath the floors of the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu.

Many read Psalm 88 and believe Jesus fulfilled the Psalmist’s words in the blackness of that night: “You have put me in the depth of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. . . . You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness” (Psalm 88:6,18).

This area outside the current wall of Jerusalem’s Old City is believed to be the site where Jesus stood before Herod.

Where Jesus Stood Trial: Herod’s House

Early in the morning, Jesus was taken from Caiaphas’s house to Pilate, the Roman governor. The angry Jewish leaders refused to enter the house because they wanted to keep themselves ceremonially clean for the Passover. So Pilate came out. Jesus was sent to Herod and back again to Pilate. Finally, the crowd got their way. Jesus was tried outside the walls in a place called the Stone Pavement (John 19:13).

Many believe Pilate was staying in Herod’s palace. The location of Jesus’ trial is disputed, but some believe it to be at the southwest corner of Herod’s palace. Here, there used to be an outer gate and courtyard. The site today is largely overlooked by tourists. Grass blows in the wind as locals pass. Yet if this was indeed the space of Jesus’ trial, two thousand years ago it was filled with blood-curdling screams: “Crucify Him!”

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MadelineArthington@churchleaders.com'
Madeline Arthington is a writer who serves with IMB in Central Asia.